A Change of Guard

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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

PM Abhisit: Hun Sen accusation on planned Cambodia coup won't affect relations between peoples

BANGKOK, Dec 27 (TNA) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (pictured) said Sunday accusation by his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen over an alleged plan to stage a coup in Cambodia-- which he denied earlier-- would not disrupt relations between the peoples of the two neighbouring countries.

Speaking during his weekly address on television and radio, Mr Abhisit said he considered the criticisms by Mr Hun Sen as “normal” because many other people also criticised him daily.

Mr Abhisit said he would not allow the charges by the Cambodian leader to affect relations between peoples of the two countries.

Mr Hun Sen was quoted by an international news agency as speaking at a provincial ceremony Thursday, saying he had seen a secret Thai government document outlining a plan to mount a coup.

The Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs lodged a complaint with the police the same day, charging key leaders of the anti-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship with publicising confidential documents and libel following a leak of the ministry’s classified document on relations between Thailand and Cambodia.

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia have worsened since the Cambodian prime minister appointed ex prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser last month and refused to extradite him to Thailand to serve his two-year jail term for violating the law on conflict of interest.

The situation further deteriorated when the two countries recalled their ambassadors and later expelled their diplomats. A Thai engineer was arrested on spying charges for allegedly passing secret information on Thaksin's flight schedule to the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh. Pardoned by the Cambodian king, the engineer returned to Bangkok earlier in December.

Asked whether Thailand would send an ambassador to Phnom Penh next year, Mr Abhisit said the issue is not a crux if Cambodia does not violate Thai judicial system which has sentenced Mr Thaksin and that Phnom Penh government also review issues which have caused the problem.

Mr Abhisit said he tried to normalise trade along the common border and to conduct assistance by his government to Phnom Penh, but Mr Hun Sen rejected it.

The Thai prime minister said what his government had done should be considered “very light” as it would not affect trade or lead to war with that country, but it is impossible to let Cambodia continue criticising Thailand and its judicial system, he said, adding that it is a pity that some Thais have tried to create tensions. (TNA)

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